Organiser of this month's Listening to the Lachlan gathering in Forbes this month, Pennie Scott has criticised National Party member for Cootamundra, Steph Cooke, for dismissing the rationale from independent agency, Water Infrastructure NSW, regarding the possible raising of the Wyangala Dam wall.
"Perhaps Ms Cooke needs to be reminded these agencies provide a plethora of skills and expertise most politicians do not possess," Ms Scott said.
"These include critically analysing a business case, and especially evaluating cost recovery from a huge expenditure of public funds.
"In the case of the proposed raising of the Wyangala Dam wall, the National Party has been tunnel-visioned in their continuous support for this project citing supply of water for summer irrigation and flood mitigation as compelling reasons.
"Prior to the federal election, the Member for Riverina, Michael McCormack publicly declared the raising of the wall would also be good for mining. Is this the real reason why the Nationals want the wall raised; to provide water for more mining to the north of the projected inundation area?"
Ms Scott said the "other side of the story" will be revealed at Listening to the Lachlan in Forbes on June 21 and 22.
Ian Payne from Water Infrastructure NSW will be presenting at the gathering.
"In addition to Mr Payne, Patrick Brown, a civil engineer, is also presenting construction realities for the Wyangala Dam wall to be raised by 10m," Ms Scott said.
"During the Gathering, all speakers are grouped in themed sessions and, at the conclusion of each session, are available for questions."
Themes at the gathering will include Wiradjuri country, ecological systems, birds and fish of the Lachlan, floodplains and wetlands, emotional connections and distress, woodlands and ecological values, and effects of mining on the Lachlan Valley.
The full program is available at the Listening to the Lachlan website.
"Raising the dam wall is not a simple engineering solution to prevent or mitigate flooding downstream or, provide irrigation water during summer," Ms Scott said.
"The Lachlan Valley has the oldest and least efficient irrigation infrastructure in the Murray-Darling Basin which, if updated, would provide more reliable water supply.
T"hese and other issues will be discussed in a holistic appraisal about this contentious issue - is it cost effective to spend $2.1bn to raise the Wyangala Dam Wall when other options are available with fewer destructive outcomes," Ms Scott said.
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